Time Out says
A polished imitation of a New York institution - itself an interpretation of a buzz-tastic French brasserie. Booking essential.
In early 2013, Keith McNally’s much-anticipated NYC import Balthazar finally opened, and London got to see what this Manhattan interpretation of a French brasserie was actually like. The response was positive, and for weeks afterwards it was hard to get a table.
Chef Robert Reid has tinkered little with the nostalgic transatlantic menu, and we loved signature dishes such as the onion soup (grilled gruyère lid on thick country bread, immersed in a rich and sweet chicken stock); duck shepherd’s pie was another powerfully flavoured treat. More recently, some of the gloss seems to have worn off (though service remains prompt and friendly).
The cheeseburger, no bargain at £17, was a chunky patty but had little flavour, and needed more than the limited, bland trimmings to give it an oomph that might have justified the price tag. A pleasant gruyère and herb omelette tasted as though it had lingered a little too long at the pass.
Best was pavlova (one of several delightfully retro desserts) – it may not have looked like a classic version (the meringue sat on the fruit, rather than the other way round), but it tasted good.
Bread, from master baker Jon Rolfe, is a must-try. Balthazar London mimics the New York original perfectly, with red awnings, red leather banquettes, giant antiqued mirrored walls and mosaic floors, but to British eyes, the decor can look a little too close to any old chain brasserie.
4-6 Russell Street
|Transport:||Tube: Covent Garden tube|
|Opening hours:||Monday to Thursday 7.30am - 11.30pm Friday 7.30am - Midnight Saturday 9am - Midnight Sunday 9am - 11pm|
|Do you own this business?|
Users say (57)
Average User Rating
3.6 / 5
- 5 star:15
- 4 star:24
- 3 star:6
- 2 star:7
- 1 star:5
I really enjoyed my stay at balthazar. My waitor was very professional and friendly. Looking forward to visit the NY one.
Great ambiance, delish food (the meat tartare was SO GOOD)! When they’re full, the service is a little slow.
Being the Covent Garden institution that it is, I couldn’t think of anywhere better than Balthazar for a pre work breakfast with my boyfriend. The food was great for breakfast (I’d only ever had afternoon tea here before) with classic egg dishes mixed with things like bacon baguettes. It’s also great value for money as it isn’t too pricey.
Make sure you order a coffee “bowl”. Maybe I’m a bit stupid, but wasn’t actually expecting a bowl full of coffee. Sounds mad, but it’s brilliant!!
I went to Balthazar for breakfast and really enjoyed myself! The decor is absolutely stunning with huge mirrors and lovely booths! We were greeted by a hostess upon entry and taken to our table. Staff were polite, if a tad difficult to get the attention of. The breakfast menu had quite a few things to choose from as a vegetarian so I was very pleased! I ended up having the Eggs Florentine, which I wouldn't say were anything special but was tasty enough. I would definitely go back, especially for the atmosphere. I can imagine it would be especially lovely in the evening so will try to go back for dinner!
Balthazar have a beautiful Boulangerie just next door, serving up spooking Halloween treats, overseen by Regis Beauregard so everything you would expect from the former Ritz pastry chef and delicious. All made in house delicious pumpkin pie's and bat cookies. #balthoween
Balthazar has become a bit of an institution for catching up with old friends over long weekend boozy brunches, so if it’s been awhile since you’ve caught up, time to give those beautiful people a call as they won’t say no to Balthazar.
What we had:
- Eggs Florentine: toasted homemade muffin with spinach, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce
- Pâté de campagne with cornichons, pickles and grilled potato bread
- Steak Tartare with French fries
The interior is oh so French brasserie dining with old stained mirrors, red leather booth seating, dark wooden panelling and their own in house boulangerie. The atmosphere is buzzing and the service attentive, friendly and professional. The pâté and the steak tartare was really good, and despite what seem like small portions, very filling; though you may need to ask for more of their delicious bread to accompany these two dishes. The eggs Florentine was a little disappointing as I felt the muffin was a little soggy; however the eggs were poached well and the dish was not drowning in the hollandaise sauce as it sometimes is. The bellinis packed a punch and the coffee nice and hot but not burnt. Overall, I’d be back here in a heartbeat to try out the rest of the menu - it's a great place for a long boozy birthday brunch, or any brunch really.
Tip: They offer theatre and dinner packages so be sure to check out their website for more details.
Good For: large groups, business breakfast/ brunch/ lunch/ dinner, pre-theatre dinner, special occasion, celebrations
My first visit to Balthazar was a couple of weeks ago for their Bobbi Brown Afternoon tea. I really liked the restaurant the staff were very friendly and there was a buzz about the place. The decor reminded me of old school New York restaurant.
We had the fizz cocktail to start which was very sweet and didn't taste very alcoholic but nice nonetheless. We were told by our waitress that you could only have the tea or the cocktail and not both which I found strange as no other afternoon tea I had been to worked this way, so we ordered tea as an extra but when we received the bill we hadn't been charged extra. I think perhaps we were given the wrong information.
The sandwiches were nice and the scones were great but undoubtedly the best part was the make up shaped treats on the top layer. They do come in an odd amount so we did have to halve them so that we each got a try of everything, not too much of an issue.
It's an expensive afternoon tea but it is a very nice treat!
Steak tartare is my favourite food and I have not found a better one than the one at Balthazar! No matter when you go to Balthazar you best believe it will always be crowded but it's a lovely buzz as opposed to a distracting one. The service is on point and the food is consistently good. Perhaps not the best steak frites or moules frites in London for the price but the ambiance at Balthazar is part of the culinary experience here and there's something about eating at Balthazar that feels very grand and sumptuous. Make sure to book in advance if you want to get a table and if you do, try the steak tartare with the frites, the wonderful pastries or order a bloody Mary with your brunch. You will not be disappointed.
This is a busy establishment in a central location. It's pricey for bistro fare but the premium is more for location & name rather than quality of food. That said the atmosphere is
buzzing, the waiting staff are friendly & attentive and the menu has plenty of choice. There's no cheap wine options in keeping with the inflated prices. Not good value but if you have the cash to splash or are hankering for a taste of NYC this is a fun spot to while away an evening.
Fantastic breakfast and great sandwiches at lunch time.
Staff attentive and surroundings thoroughly suit the cuisine.
Slightly pricey but good sized portions.
Gorgeous place to visit for breakfast or brunch. The food is
very well presented and tastes very good. The portions are the perfect size to
counteract the rich menu offering. Staff are formal and friendly. The décor is
beautiful. It’s a great place to visit for a celebration or occasion. Would definitely
go back to try it for dinner.
Finally, an establishment with decent French pastries! Both the dine-in and takeaway counter at Balthazar offer a lovely range of French pastries that'll satisfy your morning sweet cravings.
My favourite has got to be the Kouign-Amann. A deliciously sweet and crispy puff pastry creation that is best served when you ask the waiter to heat it up a little for you. The top get crispy again and the smell of the butter and sugar when it arrives at your table is killer! Balthazar's version is not overly sweet and you can see and taste the caramelisation on the top of the pastry. I've also had their Pain aux Raisins from the takeaway counter next door, but I didn't find it as satisfying. It lacked the cream custard on the inside and the sugar glaze on top was a little excessive.
They do a great breakfast and brunch menu, my go-to being the avocado on toast with poached eggs and tomato salsa. A classic dish but with the addition of the tomato salsa, it adds some acidity and really lifts the overall dish! Definitely a recommendation if you're in the Covent Garden area, or simply looking for a decently priced and satisfying eatery for breakfast or brunch!
I went for dinner with two friends - we managed to get a table after a last minute walk in. We had tried some of the newer trendier places in the area, all of which had a two-hour minimum wait, so we were very excited to get in!
I ordered Moules Frites, and they tasted good. My friends had the burger, and the other went for steak, and both were happy with their meals.
Service was prompt - but not the most attentive, but it was very busy, which I guess was a factor. However, I did find it funny, when the waitress insisted we pay the outstanding 13p towards the 'discretionary' gratuity at the end of meal. We weren't trying to be cheap, just hadn't realised, yet were made to feel quite embarrassed as we desperately collated our loose change!
Anyway, nice decent food - and a good location.
I went to Balthazar with a friend this morning (Sunday) for brunch. My friend was a bit nervous about bringing me there because I love brunch and I'm a regular at spots that offer creative dishes or do the classics spectacularly well. Having been there before she said the ambiance and service were unbeatable but the food was nice (though nothing to write home about) but had heard their brunch was the best in London!
We both ordered soy lattes which were nice enough but slightly bitter/burnt. I ordered the hazlenut waffles and she got the eggs Benedict florentine and we both agreed we've had better. My waffles were dry, possibly because of the addition of hazelnuts and there weren't nearly enough berries or preparation put into them. The Benedict tasted pretty standard (I tried some of my friends - she's delightful like that) but our service was superb.
In conclusion, Balthazar was a lovely buzzing spot to be on a Sunday in the heart of London, but I wouldn't recommend ditching your regular unless it's to catch-up with a friend, followed by some retail therapy.
I love brunch. Breakfast is by far the best meal of the day. Balthazar does it very, very well. Albeit at a price. The bloody mary's come adorned with an olive and a rasher of bacon. I opted for a full english and you can tell the ingredients were all top quality and cooked superbly. There were fried potato chunks, covered in caramelised onions which was out of this world.
What really made Balthazar was the service. Our hilarious french waiter Cedric kept us very entertained, whilst providing great service. Certainly worth every penny.
Seriously good food at Balthazar. I have been here a few times and have always really enjoyed it. The service was absolutely brilliant and although it was busy (and always is), they never seemed phased by it. Love the cocktails too, had a great espresso martini to round of a great meal.
One of my favorite brunch venues, this is my go to place for Brunch with the gals, this French bistro style place has a real Sex and the City feel to it and as soon as you enter it’s like stepping into 1920s New York. If you're looking for a wow factor in terms of decor and appearance, this is it. The staff is dressed for the occasion, polite, classy and elegant, yet despite the busy feel of the restaurant, service is prompt. The brunch menu is varied and delicious, but most importantly, the coffee is good. Have been several times and will continue to go, perfect for a catch up or impressing a visitor to London.
A very good French-style (even if not owned by a French) brasserie. The ambiance is awesome, service is quite good and the food is terrific. For sure the best english breakfast in town, try it.
Balthazar is a french brasserie set in the heart of Covent Garden. Lovely atmosphere and decor – great to take a date or your visiting guests from abroad. The food is of a high standard – the duck confit was as good as we have sampled in France. The afternoon tea was good value at £25 compared to the high end hotels such as the Ritz or Claridges; scones were delightful and the patisseries beautifully presented. The sandwiches were rather average and dry though.
During the day, the venue is casual enough for children however the acoustics of the room means it gets very noisy. There were large groups of ladies-who-lunch, sipping their tea and we felt slightly out of place in the grand settings. Highchairs available, tables a little tightly packed to house buggies. Staff were extremely helpful and friendly – top marks there.
The service was good but the food was awful. I was warned about the food prior to my visit so I ordered a steak frites thinking that they must have at least a hundred people ordering this everyday so they must be v experienced at cooking this dish, and honestly it's just steak and fries, what can possibly go wrong right? Well it went wrong, had no taste (bad steak) and was way over-cooked (felt like I was eating carpet) even though I asked for medium-rare. My friend ordered a risotto which was very salty. The wine was fine but the food was definitely a let-down.
Just like the New York restaurant, the decor was lovely and the service was pretty good. Unfortunately though, the food wasn't anywhere near as good as the one in NYC. My pancakes were dry, bland, and lukewarm, with hardly any banana. My brother's full English breakfast was great to look at, but again, tasteless. Finishing our meals was a real chore. I am SO disappointed as I adore the NYC restaurant and make a point of going there when in NYC, and I was so excited to try out the London one for the first time... : (
Breakfast on a Tuesday morning. Nice room, especially if you like faux-brasserie style. Very sad and rather mean-looking plate of scrambled eggs and salmon. Good orange juice. Luke warm coffee. Low-grade pastries presented as if they were some culinary marvel. Longish wait for food in spite of few patrons. Amateurish service of the "isn't this wonderful" variety. Far too expensive for what it was. Wouldn't return.
Really bad experience this lunchtime. Dirty table when we arrived, overpriced fruit de mare pasta dish which felt like it had been dragged through the dead sea- far to much salt for anyone's taste and to top it off - shell fragments in the dish. Not what you expect for the price. Great wine selection on the plus side. Will not be visiting again. Felt like a chain restaurant.
I had lunch with my wife at Balthazar a few days ago, and couldn't have been more satisfied. The decor and service were outstanding. The waitress and the entire staff were attentive, refilled our water promptly and were never intrusive. The meal was to die for, my wife and the Moules Frites and i ordered the Steak Frites. Both of these were the best versions either one of us has had outside of France, and most certainly in London. Do yourself a favor and do not skip dessert. We had the Cocolate orange pot and the cheesecake, and both my wife and I are craving them now. We can't wait to go back.
My partner and I dined at Balthazar a few weeks ago. We couldn’t wait to get there after reading all the hype and patiently waiting more than a month to get in. I will say this - I'll give it a star for the decor and service. I felt like we were in a beautiful brasserie in Paris and the waiters were terrific - very attentive and enthusiastic. I wish I could say the same about the management. My partner ordered the oysters which we think gave him a horrendous case of food poisoning (he said they didn’t taste quite right at the time). I'm not sure what is more disappointing - the fact that the restaurant’s overpriced food didn’t live up to the hype, or that when we emailed them privately to let them know he’d been sick, that they never bothered to respond. You'd think a new restaurant like this would actually care about its customers’ experiences. Seems not.
I have to say the decor and the service were absolutely 5 star. The food was a 3 and probably a 1 if you factor the cost into that. I had oysters and a steak. I got food poisoning from the oysters which I didn't think was possible until my girlfriend called to say she also had food poisoning that the doctors had told her was almost certainly shellfish related. Anyway for a main I had what I was told was the best steak on the menu. I can't remember exactly what it was called but the waiter recommended it. I got it rare. To be fair to them it wasn't awful but it really wasn't what I'd been expecting and i was so disappointed. I had really high hopes for this and was one of the first people ringing on the phone to get in there. I sincerely hope they get the food sorted as the rest of the restaurant is amazing. Obviously never going to get the Oysters again though!
Having dined at the NYC outposts (B and Pastis), my partner and I were very excited to try B i London. Firstly, the service we received was very good, from the initial phone call, to trying to modify the booking on the same day (was sadly, albeit understandably, not possible) to the lovely waiters. B in London is slightly darker than its NYC siblings, which I suppose is to create some type of romantic atmosphere, although it's a little too dusky for my taste. The tables are also slightly too close together which means you can't engage in more personal conversations but it's a brasserie at the end of the day so guess it comes with the concept. However, this was the biggest drawdown for me. Their steak tartar taste just like the ones they serve in NYC (hands down the best steak tartar I've had), one portion of fries was slightly overcooked but the second one was just right. Their USDA beef hit the spot but the escgargots weren't what I'd hoped they'd be. Their bread basket was lovely, especially the little baguette, which bodes well for future visits to their bakery next door. The wine list was comprehensive with prices ranging from ca £20 and up. We loved the look of the dessert menu and opted for the profiteroles which were delicious. We will definitely be back (but ask for a slightly more secluded - don't think there really are any - table next time). Service: ***** Food: **** Wine: ***** Ambiance: **
Below average. Lunch at 12:30 and food arrived one hour later. Manager apologized but did not seem sincere. Tables were too close, do not want to hear about escapades of someone's love life with a 12 year old in tow. For all the hype, disappointing. Good location but much better options in London.
Bad. Raw goat's cheese tart, pastry like concrete and then just liquid poured out all over the plate when cut into. Burgers - one nearly cremated, one nearly raw, one absolutely fine but cold. Chocolate souffle took so long to arrive we nearly had to leave, then when it did show up it looked the part but tasted of dry, eggy nothing and had a strange grainy texture. Constant topping up of water glasses after each sip really intrusive.
Went there for pre- theatre , no pre-theatre menu!! Very expensive, main course consisting of precisely three cold scallops, with a few leaves of mache, this was supposedly the Plat du Jour. The bread quite ordinary the wine by the glass horrendously priced. Far too many people wandering about trying to be friendly, it seems that they want to solve the youth unemployment problem in London!! It is frankly absurd to have a doorman for a brasserie!! Not good value for money at all!! This is the view of three others who dined with me.
Balthazar really is a delight. It looks great inside (and it's huge! - though don't let that put you off, they have plenty of staff so that wherever you sit, you have all the waiter attention you need) it tastes great and they have a terrific wine list. Food prices are good, wine a bit more expensive. Very classy atmosphere. Try the Lamb T-bone...
So so very disappointed. Cold fries, chewy tasteless bread, stringy chicken, pastry so hard it took a steak knife to cut it, rock hard over cooked profiteroles bordering on burnt. The assiette de fromages was lovely, but that's a long way down the menu to wait for something good. Service was fabulous at the table however, although there seemed to be more staff than diners despite a full restaurant and total confusion at the door. I'd like to think it was a one-off bad service/problem in the kitchen but I wouldn't be happy to risk it again at that price level.
I managed an early walk in last night, the staff couldn't have tried harder to find us a seat - gave over a table at the bar that could have sat four and never once did we feel hurried so they could turn the table - Rick Stein was drinking at the bar and the General Manger of the Ivy was just behind us, it is defiently the place to try now it has opened. I have had brunch at the NY one but i much prefer the building and buzz of the London one, i guess also because its now local!! Food was a comfort and well executed and i can't wait to go back!
I enjoyed a wonderful evening here.The service was very good! Top marks for all the bartenders and very pleased to see a female one who knew how to make the most perfect martini! I'll be back...but I do fear that it will be hard to get a seat! The staff that welcomed me at the door were more than helpful and said I could eat at the bar...this was a great first impression and it shows that they will try their best to get the customer a seat...food was great...I'll be back time after time.Outstanding!!!
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